Inspired by the hopeless romantic, with a darling penchant for frivolous candy coloured hues, pom pom’s and deliciously layered designs, Jessica Shaw is a treat. She makes our heart beat a little faster as we fantasize adorning ourselves in her pieces- and we have an inkling it would feel a little like wearing sunshine and all things happy.
“It’s fun and free-spirited label undercut with edginess (imagine Courtney love and my little pony having a love child). It’s about embracing the freedom of dressing up. I’m a massive romantic at heart and that comes across in my work and my design process. I create pieces that I want to wear and fantasize about wearing, that girls can dress up in and be whoever they want to be in. I work with a lot of colour, always bright and a mixture of textures. A lot of my pieces have elaborate trims, I love each individual piece and have indulged in detail. The aesthetic is embodied by an eclectic mix of fabrics from fur to velvet, chiffon to tulle in my creation of ultra feminine designs.”
How did your desire to be a fashion designer all begin?
I desired to be a designer as far back as I can remember . I have always had a keen interest in clothes and loved dressing up as a kid. I have a fond memory of dressing up in my mums old wedding dress with massive 80’s puff- shouldered, full-length sleeves and never wanting to take it off. I wanted to be a artist from a kid and always loved to draw. I remember standing in front of the class at the age of five saying I want to be an artist and the teacher saying “no Jessica a proper job!” Fashion is an expression of art I guess its just wearable forms of art that I create.
Your designs step outside the boundaries of plain shirt and jeans into something that is quirky and detailed. Did you ever find yourself afraid to go beyond your comfort zone of simplicity or has this always been your aesthetic?
I design clothes for myself for pure selfish reasons. You cant buy these dresses anywhere so I just create them. This is my comfort zone, simplicity bores me! I can’t buy what I want to wear from the high street. I love what is happening within the industry these days, how street style is more influential. It’s not just these black and white shift dresses or what Rihanna is wearing it’s much more creative. I never follow trends, street style is so much more interesting. Designers such as Meadham & Kirchhoff, a label we all adore and rightly so , are paving the way and echoing what designers like Westwood and John Galliano were doing in the 80’s. Meadham & Kirchoff create this Disney world we all dream of as kids. Modern designers show you that you can create and make your drams a reality. Girls want to dress up and to be a different character everyday even if its just for the day! Isn’t that was fashion is anyway, a massive dress up party?
What inspires your designs?
There are so many things that inspire me- music and photography are a massive influence in my designs and influential feminist artists like Frida Kahlo. I always look back to previous decades like the 80s’s. It is a massive influence especially the cultural youth movements like the New Romantics. Fashion can be a voice of expression for the female form. Again the idea of dress up like the Club scene days and the Idea of being whoever you want to be. I love seeing people in the street just wearing some crazy outfit because they got up and thought today I’m going to be a cyber princess queen!
Is sketching a big part of your creative process?
Yes definitely! I class myself as an Illustrator first then a designer, drawing always comes first in my design process. I always think of the the final look in my head. I draw these fantasy Tim- Burtonesk characters then layer them up with elaborate dresses and coats. That’s how my design process starts always from the research first, to the sketch of the whole collection, down to the accessories, then to the pattern cutting . I work on the stand a lot with drapes. My ideas come alive in my sketches
How many hours a day do you think you spend dreaming?
It depends as I feel I live in a daydream. Friends say I’m always in a ‘Jessie bubble’ if they saw inside my head they expect it to be be glittery and fluffy with Prince playing as the soundtrack! I daydream about where I see the label in a few years and am excited about what 2014 has to bring. I daydream about my future, as in what city I will be living maybe New York is my biggest day dream right now. I love London but I think New York would be a fun adventure.
If you could envision a type of girl that wears your pieces, what type of girl would she be?
The girl who wears Jessica Shaw is free spirited, fun loving and carefree . She’s like Lolita and she skips at least once a day!
What lovely things can be expect in your next collection?
“Dreams Of Lolita “ Is my latest collection. I’m super excited about this ! A collection inspired by YOUTH! The coming of age and dressing-up. This collection is an electric mix of pink, green tulle of velvet dresses covered in pom-poms, fur- trimmed bomber jackets and floral glittery frilly dresses. Legend princess meets mum’s dress-up box.
Where do you see your future heading?
Somewhere bright and colourful! I hope to gain more exposure for the label in the next year with the release of “Dreams Of Lolita “. I hope to grow as a designer and develop my skills. I would love to gain stockist in Japan and London boutiques. I feel Japan is the perfect place for my label I can just see all the harajuku girls in my dresses. Yelp! That would be a dream come true! To reach new horizons with designing and have fun in the meantime as Grimes says “ Never forget to have a good time “.